The Bobcat (lynx rufus or felis rufus) is the most common wildcat in North America. They are tawny to gray with indistinct black spotting. They have a cheek ruff and a short stubby tail. The bobcat tail is only dark on the top of the tip; the underneath is white or pale—lynx tails have an all dark tip. Bobcats have smaller ear tuffs and smaller feet than the lynx does. Weight ranges from 16 to 28 pounds for males and 10 to 18 pounds for females. They can be 25-41 inches long and 17 to 23 inches high.
Bobcats are excellent climbers, hunters, and stalkers. They prey on hare, rabbits, squirrels and chipmunk, other rodents, and birds. In the winter when other prey is scare the males will even hunt deer, or if near human habitations, sheep, poultry and young pigs. Bobcats will cache large kills.
Bobcats live from the Canadian/USA border down through to Mexico. They tend to be larger in the north and smaller in the south. Their habitat includes coniferous and mixed forest, swamp areas, desert, and scrubland.
They are solitary animals with each bobcat having a main den (often the natal den) and several secondary dens (shelter dens). Dens are often in a cave or under a rock shelter, but can be in hollow logs, under fallen trees, or in brush piles. Bobcats mark their territory or home range with urine, feces, scent markings, scratches on trees and scrapes (piles of dirt and debris marked with scent).
Litters of bobcats range in size from 1 to 6 kittens, weighing 10-12 ounces at birth. They are weaned at 12 weeks of age and independent of their mother at 10-12 months. The longevity of bobcats in the wild is 12-13 years.
Fun Bobcat Facts
- Bobcats are solitary and territorial.
- The cat is named for its short tail.
- The bobcat's growls and snarls are so deep and fearsome, they sound as if they are coming from a much bigger animal.
- Bobcats can have home ranges as big as 20 square miles.
- Bobcats are excellent swimmers.
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